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The Philippine Star, March 3, 1999
Mountain climbers trekking to Mt. Apo this summer face stricter guidelines agreed upon during a series of consultations to protect and preserve the Mt. Apo Natural Park.
In a travel advisory, Benjamin Mallorca Jr., supervising tourism operations officer of the Kidapawan Tourism Council, said the guidelines were reached during the Inter-LGU and Inter-Agency Network planning workshops and the Mt. Apo Summer Climb consultative meeting covering the cities of Kidapawan and Davao and the provinces of Davao del Sur and Cotabato.
Under the guidelines, effective this month, there will only be six entry points to be opened for Mt. Apo climbers this summer.
The six entry points and the corresponding number of climbers allowed to register or pass through them are: Kidapawan City, 500; Magpet, Cotabato, 300; Makilala, Cotabato, 200; Kapatagan, Davao del Sur, 250; Sibulan, Sta. Cruz, Davao del Sur, 250; and Tamayong, Calinan, Davao City, 500.
Climbing reservation in each entry point will be on a first-come, first-served basis and will have to be made in advance. Registration fee is P100 for local climbers and P200 for foreign climbers.
The deadline for bookings for the 21-day "Final Mt. Apo Climb for the 20th Century" from March 26 to April 15 is on March 22.
Mallorca said there will be no deadline extension and that no walk-in registrants will be entertained after March 22 or until the quota per entry point is filled up.
In the event that a particular entry point has reached its quota, excess climbers will be sent or diverted to other entry points which are not yet filled up.
Climbers must still undergo the required briefing and orientation by authorities and personnel of their respective entry points before they are allowed to enter the Mt. Apo Natural Park.
Each climber will be issued a "Mountaineer's ID" by authorities at the entry point. The ID, which doubles as registration fee receipt, is non-transferable and valid only within the holder's duration of climb as indicated.
Climbers found without IDs will be considered illegal entrants to Mt. Apo and will be dealt accordingly by the authorities, Mallorca said.
Porters, mountain guides, medics, rescue team members and monitoring volunteers will also be issued IDs.
For inquiries, write or call the Kidapawan Tourism Council, Office of the City Mayor, Kidapawan City, telefax no. (064) 288-1389, or the PAMB-Tourism, Mt. Apo Foundation Inc., Kidapawan City, tel. no. (064) 288-1831.
The Kidapawan Tourism Council is a two-time Kalakbay awardee (1996 and 1997) as Tourism Council of the Year.